Developers for the massive Kroger-anchored retail center on Ga. 400 continue to make progress in bringing new restaurants and shops to Dawson County.
The group last week received clearance to increase the number of parking spaces for an unidentified outparcel restaurant, described only as a national chain that draws big crowds.
"The citizens of Dawson County love restaurants and want restaurants," said Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County. "They are higher quality restaurants than some of the fast food kind of places, and to get those size of restaurants, they have to have more parking...because you want a lot of people in there."
The Dawson County Board of Commissioners also approved variance requests to vary from the front setback requirement and required building façade, among others.
Dawson Marketplace, which sits on the southbound side of the highway, between Whitmire and Dawson Forest roads, was recently approved by Kroger, which plans to open one of Georgia's largest grocery stores at approximately 123,000 square feet, featuring a nine pump Kroger Fuel Center.
In addition to the Kroger Marketplace, Blanchard Real Estate Capital has secured national retailer commitments exceeding 200,000 square feet.
Auvermann calls the retail center "a $60 million investment in Dawson County" that will bring nearly 230 new jobs to the area.
"This is a huge project. If you look at the size of the outlet mall, this is going to be bigger than that," he said.
The completed development is expected to give the Dawson County area a "wide array of choices for food and shopping" for the greater Dawsonville community and visitors to the county, according to Blanchard.
The Blanchard power center worked with the development authority and both county and state officials on planning new state-of-the-art traffic signalization now set for Ga. 400.
A sequence of computerized fiber optically controlled signals will coordinate traffic and will work in connection with the Continuous Flow Intersection now under construction at Hwy. 53 and Ga. 400.
"Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry, State Senator Steve Gooch [and Berg] all worked very hard to make sure this aspect of the project was in place and this was a key component for the retailers including Kroger," Auvermann said. "The system is modeled after those found at Perimeter Mall and as part of the Cumberland Community Improvement District, both located in Atlanta."
According to Auvermann, the project has also been planned by Blanchard to make sure the power center operates in conjunction with the North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall and other pending projects set for the Ga. 400 corridor.
Blanchard expects to break ground on the new power center later this year with a goal of opening in the fall of 2016.